Davao Oriental Governor Nelson Dayanghirang is filled with optimism the “struggle for peace” will succeed over violent conflict as he and fellow local government officials in the province have warmly welcomed the installation of a new military commander in the province on Friday afternoon in the City of Mati.
“Building from the success of my predecessor, I wish to come up with a more comprehensive program for pursuing peace and development. It shall be done by fostering community dialogues, introducing community-owned projects, and creating communities of peace. We hope to continue to pursue a principled partnership with people’s organizations, non-government organizations, churches from different religions, tribal leaders, local government units, government agencies and many other sectors who know how to reach out to the constituents and win their cooperation and trust. The program aims to promote and preserve a peaceful and livable Davao Oriental where people enjoy basic services and are actively involved in planning development and exercising governance. We shall initiate responsive interventions to address the lingering problem of insurgency and even the people’s feeling of apathy towards government capacity to provide safety and security to its constituents,” the governor told the audience attending a ceremony for the change of command in the leadership of the Philippine Army’s 701st Brigade based in the capital City of Mati. Among the local government officials who graced the ceremony were Davao Oriental First District Rep. Corazon Malanyaon, City of Mati Mayor Carlo Rabat and Vice Mayor Glenda Rabat Gayta. Mati Bishop Patricio Alo was among the top religious leaders in the province who was seen among the audience.
Aside from provincial government leaders, Friday’s ceremony also saw the attendance of top officials from the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Present during the ceremony are Lt. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, Commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom), who in the past also served as commander of the 701st Brigade; 10th Infantry Division Commander, Major General Rafael C. Valencia; and 7th Infantry Division Commander Major General Angelito De Leon who presided over the change of command ceremony.
“The success of the Bayanihan program in the province is changing the face of governance that is able to regain for the government the trust and confidence of communities badly affected by strifes. The Bayanihan program of the AFP was piloted in Davao Oriental to great success, with government and the military cooperating in bringing development projects to highly impoverished far-flung areas called as GIDAs or Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas which are far from vital government and private resources,” says the governor. He lauded the leadership of the outgoing commander, Brig. Gen. Bienvenido Datuin, who was assigned in the province for almost two years. “In behalf of the people of Davao Oriental, we wish to express our deep sense of gratitude and appreciation to Brig. Gen. Datuin’s exemplary and outstanding leadership,” says Governor Dayanhirang. The military’s 701st Infantry Brigade covers the whole province of Davao Oriental and some parts of the Compostela Valley and Surigao provinces.
“To the incoming commander, Col. Reuben Basiao, we believe in your capacity to bring sustainable and meaningful peace and security to our province. We shall lead the quest for peace and security. Let us roll up our sleeves and pitch in. Sa ating pagsasama, tayo ay magtatagumpay sa ating adhikain para sa kapayapaan at kaligtasan ng ating komunidad. We will win the peace!” says the governor. He also recalled the heroism of the military men during the province’s tragic and “defining moments” when it was hit by a deadly supertyphoon Pablo in December 2012.
“Noong humagupit ang malakas na bagyong Pablo dito sa probinsya, wala pong katumbas na salita ang kabuuang pinsalang idinulot nito. Bukod sa winasak na mga kabahayan, imprastraktura at mga gusali, higit na nakakapanlumo ang mga maraming buhay na inangkin ng bagyong Pablo. Sa ganitong mga panahon ng trahedya, kayong mga kawal ang nagsilbeng haligi ng katatagan at sandigan ng ating mga kababayan. Hindi kayo nagpapadaig sa anumang kalungkutan, at hindi kayo nagpapakita ng anumang anyo ng kahinaan. Nananalig po tayong bawat pagsubok na ating haharapin ay panibagong pundasyon ng katatagan para sa ating ganap na pag-unlad,” says Governor Dayanghirang. By Ferdiand Zuasola